We are usually so busy focusing on the day to day lives we are living that we rarely take the time to reflect on the larger significance of the universal manifestation and what role we, as individuals play in this development. The concept of maya, the cosmic illusion, is based on our entanglement in this day to day activity without recognising the larger reality. We become attached, we are passionate about the small things that occupy us, and fail to see the ‘big picture’ of the universe. When we do take the opportunity to reflect on these things, we begin to appreciate how small and actually infinitesimal we are in the larger scope, and through this process, we widen the consciousness and loosen the attachments.
The Mother notes: “There are lots of intellectual ways of widening the consciousness. These I have explained fully in my book. But in any case, when you are bored by something, when something is painful to you or very unpleasant, if you begin to think of the eternity of time and the immensity of space, if you think of all that has gone before and all that will come afterwards, and that this second in eternity is truly just a passing breath, and that it seems so utterly ridiculous to be upset by something which in the eternity of time is… one doesn’t even have the time to become aware of it, it has no place, no importance, because, what indeed is a second in eternity? If one can manage to realise that, to… how to put it?… visualise, picture the little person one is, in the little earth where one is, and the tiny second of consciousness which for the moment is hurting you or is unpleasant for you, just this — which in itself is only a second in your existence, and that you yourself have been many things before and will be many more things afterwards, that what affects you now you will have probably completely forgotten in ten years, or if you remember it you will say, ‘How did I happen to attach any importance to that?’ … if you can realise that first and then realise your little person which is a second in eternity, not even a second, you know, imperceptible, a fragment of a second in eternity, that the whole world has unrolled before this and will unroll yet, indefinitely — before, behind — and that… well, then suddenly you sense the utter ridiculousness of the importance you attach to what happened to you…. Truly you feel… to what an extent it is absurd to attach any importance to one’s life, to oneself, and to what happens to you. And in the space of three minutes, if you do this properly, all unpleasantness is swept away. Even a very deep pain can be swept away. Simply a concentration like this, and to place oneself in infinity and eternity. Everything goes away. One comes out of it cleansed. One can get rid of all attachments and even, I say, of the deepest sorrows — of everything, in this way — if one knows how to do it in the right way. It immediately takes you out of your little ego.”
Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, Living Within: The Yoga Approach to Psychological Health and Growth, Exercises for Growth and Mastery, Widening the Consciousness, pp. 150-155